ENGLISH SCHOOLS CHAMPS - GATESHEAD
FECHIN Mc CORMICK & MIKE JACKSON
Gateshead was the venue for this year’s prestigious English Schools Championships, the “ Kid’s Olympics” and the athletic pinnacle for youths still in school. The event was blessed with fine weather for the two days with some blustery interludes. Many English schools medallists go on to become national and international champions and Sale Harriers this year had two wonderful gold medallists, two silver medallists and two bronze with a number of others producing lifetime best performances.
JONA EFOLOKO was already a double English schools champion with two U15 200m titles under his belt. He continues to be on top of his game with his third consecutive title – the U17 200m gold medal. AIMEE PRATT, the second gold medallist, clinched the senior 1500m steeplechase with a PB of 4:54 proving her amazing current form. She wins this important National title just a few weeks after the tough English Athletics U20 3000m steeplechase title she also won with a massive PB.
The club’s two English schools silver medallists were KEVIN METZGER and EMMANUEL ODUBANJO in the senior and U17 triple jump respectively. Kevin is the current English Schools Champion and doubtless would have retained the title had he not been ill, which further affected his performance in the recent English Championships. It was a particularly good result for Emmanuel who’s only been competing for the past two years and this, by far, was his biggest competitive forum.
MATILDA WATERS’ pole vault bronze medal is a fantastic achievement in just her second year pole-vaulting with coach Matt Cullen, She also recorded two PB’s in the process. FELIX TIGHE’S 400m bronze medal is also his finest athletic moment and he did it in style with a PB in the heats of 48.11.
Several also recorded PB, no mean achievement in such an unfamiliar cauldron –DANIEL AFOLOBI (200m), RORY KEEN (400), SHANE CONNEIL (High jump) and VICTORIA BARLOW (Pole Vault).
Four of Chris Bartram’s multi-eventers also participated. GRACE BOWER & MEG McHUGH competed in the Intermediate Girls with ELLIE JACKSON in the Junior Girls. category. In a field of high talent, all the athletes struggled in blustery conditions but Grace managed a highly creditable 5.17mtrs for 12th place overall. Unfortunately in the heats, Meg caught the penultimate hurdle on the home straight whilst in a strong position & finished 3rd just outside qualification. Ellie was competing at the championships for the first time in the hugely competitive 75mtrs hurdles, an event which was fiercely fought in the early rounds right through to the final. Once again qualifying would be tough Ellie ran close to her PB at 11.42seconds finishing 3rd to qualify for the final. The final was a close affair with a virtual blanket finish & despite a poor start Ellie finished in 7th place in a personal best time of 11.36seconds gaining on the other athletes. Of particular note was that all eight finalists achieved the national standard, with the winner breaking the championship record by 0.1 seconds. These girls and all the other club members will be richer for this experience.
Posted 14/07/2015 09:01